Bowl Championship SeriesThe Bowl Championship Series (BCS) is a five-game arrangement for post-season college football that is designed to match the two top-rated teams in a national championship game and to create exciting and competitive matchups between eight other highly regarded teams in four other games. The bowl games participating are the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, FedEx Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl and the BCS National Championship Game which will be played each year at one of the above four bowl sites.
2011 BCS StandingsNov. 6: LSU and Oklahoma State Are One-Two in BCS Standings
Oct. 30: Two Top 10 Teams Drop in Latest BCS Standings
Oct. 23: LSU and Alabama Remain On Top of BCS Standings
Oct. 16: LSU and Alabama Hold Top Two Spots in Initial BCS Standings
BCS BitsA weekly column provided by the BCS to give more information and clear up some misconceptions about the BCS.
Nov. 5, 2009: Answering emails – Revenue, computers and more.
Oct. 27, 2009: The facts on revenue sharing – the six automatic-qualifying conferences receive a disproportionally smaller share than might be expected.
Oct. 23, 2009: Media comments – many media members throughout the country understand the value of the current BCS system.
Oct. 15, 2009: How are the BCS Standings compiled?
Oct. 7, 2009: How are the teams selected for BCS games?
Sept. 22, 2009: What is the Harris Poll?
They Said It(…just a sampling from many affirmative comments about the current post-season football system…)
“I’ve been on the fence where a playoff would be better. But in the end it’s not as feasible or as easy as everybody wants to make it sound. I saw the poll. The players still like the bowls. If the playoffs come the bowls will go away. It’s very naive to think they can coexist. That will not happen. In the end I don’t see it happening, the time restraints, travel issues. Let’s face it. What’s wrong with college football right now? The attendance doesn’t say so. It’s never been better. Maybe outside of the NFL it’s the leading sport.”
-Bob Stoops, Oklahoma head coach to ESPN, Aug. 12, 2010
“For one thing, with a playoff, you’d have the same issues we have now, with some 10-2 team that won their last six games getting left out and not being happy about it.”
-ACC senior in ESPN The Magazine, Aug. 10, 2012
“How many fans are actually going to travel to these road playoff games? I’d like to see a playoff, but we’re not going to get that without answering a lot of tough questions.”
-SEC player in ESPN The Magazine, Aug. 10, 2012
“The whole bowl experience is great. It’s just like bowl camp, a good time to bond with the guys after a long season. Then when you go to the bowl destination, it’s even better. I’m not sure with a playoff system you have that.”
-MAC player in ESPN The Magazine, Aug. 10, 2010
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“[When people say] we don’t have to get rid of bowl games but we can still do a playoff. but here’s the problem. if you do anything like that, and teams have an opportunity or the potential to have an opportunity to play the following week, the bowl experience is done. I mean, you don’t go for a week or 10 days and have all your coaches’ families and everything there. You go in just like the NFL playoffs the day before the game, you play the game. if you win, you go back and start preparing for the next game. so you know, the idea of having bowls co-existing is really, that’s a pretty naive thought. If we had something different, if we had a playoff, it would change dramatically what we have right now and I think there’s too many people in high places that don’t want to change what we have right now.”
-Todd Blackledge on ESPN SportsCenter, Aug. 10, 2010
“For the average fan, they probably don’t care about the student-athlete experience or the fact that a bowl trip might be the ultimate experience that kid has had in his four years of college. The truth is there’s 5,000 student-athletes that are playing in a bowl game every year. Half of them are getting to end the season a winner. It’s usually close to a full-week experience where communities are rolling out the red carpet, and it’s just an unbelievable, you know, milestone for most kids’ college-football career. And these are kids that aren’t going on to be professional football players, and it’s something they will always remember. and that’s what matters to coaches, athletic directors, university presidents when they think about the bowls. I can understand from a fan perspective, you know, that may not be the most important thing. But the people that are making the decision, they care about how this matters to students.”
-Larry Scott, Commissioner of the Pac-10 Conference, to KSL-TV, Salt Lake City
“Obviously, a true playoff gives you a national champion. But my answer has always been it’s for the kids. And bowl games are for the kids. If you’re in the playoff, you spend all week at your place, and if you get beat, you’re done. You never experience a new place; you never see new things. For me, the key to the bowl games is you get to experience another place; you get to learn about another program. A lot of our kids never get to go to the West Coast.
“In all this arguing, we tend to forget about the kids, about their academic load and everything else that comes with being a student-athlete. I have a tendency to stick with the bowls.”
-Gary Patterson, TCU head coach to Sporting News Today, July 7, 2009
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“[The BCS] has met its objectives. It has not always been about controversy. During the 11-year period, college football has flourished. The sport has always been very popular, and now it’s more popular than ever. The presidents, the athletic directors, and the commissioners decided to stay with the BCS for the next four years because it serves the game overall. The regular season has been enhanced to the point that it’s the best regular season in all of sports.”
-John Swofford, ACC Commissioner and BCS Coordinator, July 5, 2009
“The 10 conferences and Notre Dame committed to the ESPN contract back in December. An amendment was prepared later, primarily to cover a small number of changes proposed by the bowls. July 9 is the date when the conferences can sign the amendment.
The BCS is voluntary. If a conference decided it did not want to be a part of the BCS there is certainly no requirement that it do so. Obviously if certain conferences said they were not going to be a part of it, that could be a factor in its continuation–depending on which conferences, that is.
“[A playoff] would diminish the bowl structure and it would reduce the number of opportunities for student-athletes to play in the postseason and that’s not a good thing. If you look at college football now, it’s the greatest sporting event spread over September, October, November, December and a little bit of January that the country has. A playoff would seriously diminish the regular season, as it has in college basketball.
I don’t think it’s good for college football, I don’t think it’s good for student-athletes and I don’t think it’s good for fans. I don’t see fans travelling around the country three weeks in succession between December and January following their team. So you’re either going to have to play at home sites – which I’m sure everybody will want to play in Nebraska in December and January – or you’re gonna have to travel, which means that bowls will cease being intercollegiate events, but will become corporate events, where everybody in, you name the city, will be there except the fans of the teams.
This isn’t basketball. This isn’t March Madness. Football’s a different game, different environment. We have different traditions. It’s hard to see why a playoff is a good idea.
-Harvey Perlman, Chancellor of University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Chair of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee, July 1, 2009
“I don’t think the man on the street has the full picture to evaluate … a playoff. I don’t think they begin to envision the negatives of a playoff, which would have to be 16 teams for political reasons.
“Most people want to have one more game with four teams playing. That can never be. They vastly underestimate the complexity of a playoff, the fact that you have to play on the college campuses. You’d probably kill the bowl system.”
-Tom Hansen, Pac-10 Commissioner, June 25, 2009
“I don’t want to sniff a playoff. The bowl system is the best thing that college football has going for it. There’s a reason why college football’s popularity has never been bigger.”
-Matt Hayes, Sporting News, May 5, 2009
“(College football) is the only sport where every single game truly matters, where you can’t afford to take your foot off the pedal for even one week. Were there a playoff, the Gators — which, like the Cardinals, clinched their division early (Nov. 8) — could have tanked their last three regular-season games without jeopardizing their title hopes in the slightest.”
-Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated, January 22, 2009
“However, at the BCS meetings in Hollywood, Fla., last spring, several conference commissioners expressed their reservation that a plus-one would be the first step down an inevitable path toward an eight- or, eventually, 16-team playoff. And that’s when the college regular season as we know it goes kaput.”
“… as with every other single-elimination sport, sooner or later, the playoffs would become the only thing that matters. As it is today, fans of all but the most woeful teams retain a vested interest until the very end due to the prospect of a bowl berth. With a playoff in place, fans would inevitably lose interest once their teams were eliminated from contention. Even if the bowls stayed in business, they’d become to football what the NIT is to basketball.”
“For 100-plus years, it’s been engrained in college football fans that every week matters, and that teams are judged on their season-long performance. The prospect of a 9-7 team (or 9-4 team, as the case may be) playing for the national championship flies in the face of the sport’s entire tradition. The single most common argument college playoff advocates make is that: ‘Every other sport does it.’ What they never bother to consider is that perhaps there’s a reason college football is different than those other sports.”
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“I am a college president or administrator and am thinking pragmatically, I would run away and hide from any playoff proposals.” (A playoff) “would be the most impractical, counterproductive and risky thing the NCAA could do. I became more convinced of that than ever, watching the bowl schedule unfurl the past two weeks.”
-Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News, January 3, 2009
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“Watching the NCAA Tournament has given me a greater appreciation for the current college football system because the same intensity provided during the three weeks of the NCAA Tournament is provided every week during the college football season.”
-Landry Locker, Daily Toreador, March 24, 2009
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“Even those longtime BCS critics like myself have to finally admit that the imperfect system has perfectly transformed the sport from a Saturday afternoon cookout to a national obsession.”
-Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times, November 6, 2008
“Those who long for a college football playoff system need to understand, thanks to the BCS, there already is one. It’s called the regular season.”
“You want college football to adopt March Madness? It already has three delightful months of it — every game counts, every play counts, the most important regular season in sports.”
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“Division I-A college football has the greatest regular season in all team sports, and a playoff system would ruin that distinction.”
-Jason Whitlock, Kansas City Star, November 23, 2008
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“(The BCS) has been great for college football. It’s not perfect, but it has been great for college football.”
-Florida coach Urban Meyer, December 7, 2008
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“The regular season is the main course, not some overpriced appetizer. There still might be a tidier way to settle the championship issue on the field, but don’t let it come at the expense of the 12-game meat of the schedule. Want a playoff? It’s taking place right now.”
-Jeff Shain, Miami Herald, October 3, 2008
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“A playoff would present as many problems as it does solutions. A playoff is politically unfeasible unless the regular season is shortened, which is financially unfeasible. A playoff could suck the life out of the regular season…”
-Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com, December 1, 2008
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“As much as coaches beat up the BCS, and I’m one of those that have been critical, I do think it’s much better than the system we had when it got in place. There are a lot of really good things about the BCS, and it’s got everybody talking about it right now. It’s what college football wants. It wants attention, good attention, and everybody is sitting down with a pencil and a piece of paper trying to figure out how this crazy stuff is going to work.”
-Texas coach Mack Brown, to Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle, November 10, 2008
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“The BCS is making an effort to do three things – preserve the bowl system, create a winner on the field based on a season’s work, and maintain college football as the most important regular season in all of sport. It’s been incredibly successful. Controversial, and successful.”
-Big Ten Conference Commissioner Jim Delany, to Mike Lopresti of USA Today, December 10, 2008
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“The part of the sport to savor is not the finale but the regular season. In college football, every game has the fierce urgency of now. The uncertainty of what lies at the end makes the 12-game gantlet all the more nerve-wracking.”
-Ben Curtis, New York Times, November 22, 2008
The BCS provides a “common-sense solution for a seemingly intractable problem that plagued the country for decades.”
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“I coach high school football in Texas, and every year only one team ends up happy in your classification. You go the playoffs, the first round, the second round, the quarterfinals – oh how exciting for everyone. But you look at it, as soon as one of those teams gets beat, they’re just forgotten.
“Now I know people say how much it works for basketball, but I think football is different. Is it really better for the kids to have a playoff or for at least half of them to go to a bowl game and say, ‘We won the Gator Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, whatever bowl.’ You have U.S.C. and Penn State going to the Rose Bowl, whoever wins that game – that’s something those kids can talk about the rest of their lives. They finished by winning something with a name, a tradition. They got to play in the Rose Bowl, not just the quarterfinals.
“People would have you believe, oh, the playoff would be perfect, ideal, but I think that if we did it, in about six years, people would say, ‘Oh my God, what have we done? We’ve ruined a perfectly good season’s ending for a whole lot of teams for the benefit of one.’ Is that really better for the kids?”
-Sam Harrell, father of Texas Tech quarterback Graham Harrell, to Harvey Araton of the New York Times, December 9, 2008
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“Isn’t this fun? Is the way we do it really that bad? Think about it, we rarely argue about the national champion, just about the teams that ought to be talked about before we decide the national champion.”
-Jerome Solomon, Houston Chronicle, November 10, 2008
“People fear the so-called worst-case scenarios that would ruin the world of college football as we know it, and every year we have to tell you to calm down. Every year college football gets better and better. Those worst-case scenarios are overblown. We waste time talking about them. They almost never happen.”
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“The decision makers for postseason college football have to consider much more than the entertainment aspect of the sport, and in weighing all the factors carefully and repeatedly, we have concluded that the format we currently enjoy is best.”
-Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, to Chris Dufresne, Los Angeles, Times, November 20, 2008
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“I think college football has the most exciting regular season of any sport because there is not a playoff system. The whole season is a playoff system.”
-Georgia Coach Mark Richt
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“The overriding point playoff supporters miss is that a playoff changes everything. There’s nothing neat and tidy about an eight-team playoff.
“If you take the six big conference winners and use some sort of formula or committee similar to the NCAA basketball tournaments to select the two at-large spots, how does that work? Does the team perceived to be the best of the (non-automatic qualifying) schools automatically get a selection?
“If so, that leaves only one at-large berth to a runner-up. If Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma all finished the season with one defeat, how would that choice be made? And how do you compare those teams to a one-loss Alabama?
“To avoid these kinds of questions, you have to go to a 16-team tournament and at that point, the regular season has lost its unique quality. If that many teams are postseason bound, then you completely alter the emotions that spilled out of Texas and Texas Tech fans in the final dramatic plays late Saturday night.
“College football is different from every other sport in that it doesn’t always provide a bow on a neatly tied package at the end of the year. I will gladly sacrifice that in order to maintain the integrity of autumn Saturday afternoons and nights. Those are nothing less than the best days in sport.”
-Tim Cowlishaw, Dallas Morning News, November 7, 2008
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“But here’s the thing: since college football adopted the BCS as a convoluted, inexplicable method of staging a national championship game, the sport has never been more successful.”
-Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com, May 2008
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“This amazing season does not prove, once and for all, the crying need for a playoff system, as some have argued. It’s exactly the opposite. This season is proof that a playoff would only muck up something that works, albeit works chaotically. In college football, the known is the unknown. That’s what makes it unique.”
-Rick Morrissey, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 5, 2007
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“A playoff system would destroy college football as we know it.”
-Allen Barra, Wall Street Journal, November 29-30, 2008
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“The argument we hear most – that college football is the only sport that doesn’t have a playoff – is the best argument for keeping things the way they are. What’s wrong with being unique? Why do people want college football to be like everything else?”
-Morrissey, Chicago Tribune, November 21, 2008
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“There is no regular season that delivers like college football. In movie parlance, it’s an unpredictable two-hour thrill ride. Amid all the fun, we have people yelling that the sport has to change. It needs a playoff system. Why? So the casual fans who are confused by the BCS and the angry columnists who write about college football three times a year can get finality. So the next time someone complains about a ‘BCS mess’ or you hear the inane ‘the BCS shouldn’t have a ‘C’ in it’ comment, roll your eyes, shake your head and smile. You know better.”
-Teddy Greenstein, Chicago Tribune, Dec. 1, 2007
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